Our wheelchair clinicians have used virtual consultations since March to continue to provide assessments for some of our service users during the pandemic.
In November 2020 we moved to the virtual platform ‘Attend Anywhere’, which has significantly increased our virtual consultations across a wide range of service user pathways because it’s user-friendly, reliable and provides ease of use for our clinicians and service users. Many of our service users are already familiar with ‘Attend Anywhere’ as it’s widely used by the NHS in hospitals and GP surgeries.
The National Clinical Team has worked with clinical leads to identify specific pathways where ‘Attend Anywhere’ can produce an immediate positive impact on our service provision.
Each offer of a virtual appointment is risk assessed, as many of our service users need a full ‘hands on’ assessment, mechanical adjustments to their wheelchair, or may struggle to engage virtually. We have found that virtual consultations are reducing the contacts required and saving time, which has increased our clinical capacity for more complex service users who need face-to-face appointments.
Key pathways where ‘Attend Anywhere’ supports and benefits the delivery of our service.
- The Powered wheelchair pathway: Where service users are able to engage with clinicians in virtual appointments and actively demonstrate their posture and mobility, to establish that their home environment meets the criteria. Clinicians can identify if a service user’s postural needs further input before moving towards a trial. .
- Care homes: Our clinicians are engaging with care home staff to trouble shoot issues that arise, for examplesupporting effective positioning in a wheelchair and can establish whether a full clinic visit is needed.
- Hospital discharges: Using our range of guides to support carers with virtual consultations, such as our ‘how to measure’ guide, we can establishing whether a service user is suitable for ‘direct issue’ equipment, instead of attending a clinic for re-measuring.
- Staff training and support: Clinicians working across the triage and the national clinical team are available to discuss clinical findings with colleagues to provide support during the clinical assessment for those with more complex postural needs. .
Virtual consultations are of clear benefit, saving wheelchair users and their families the time, effort and costs often incurred on traveling to our sites for an appointment.
We’ll continue to evaluate this with the intention to maintain and increase virtual access to our wheelchair services, even once Covid restrictions are lifted, to help make a difference to our service users’ lives.